Musings from a Newbie

wammy

New member
Aug 2, 2010
2
Just bought a 1964 built house with an equally old pool. Came in knowing nothing about pools. After reading this site for a few weeks and The Ultimate Guide to Pool Maintenance I've steadily taken over managing the pool. I fired the pool service yesterday. A few thoughts so far:

1. Only major near disaster was when I learned the wet way that the hydraulic concerns are very different having a pump a couple feet below the bottom of the pool from having one above the surface. Read all about the difficulty priming a pump after you clean the strainer basket. Didn't occur to me that I had a very different problem. I took a bath in a hurry. I had visions of the entire pool emptying in about 20 minutes before I stopped panicking and shut the valves.

2. We want to do a major pool renovation in a year or two, so I'm trying to decide what's worth doing in the mean time. Lot's of ideas from reading this site. Primarily a SWG is clearly in order at some point. Lugging around this much bleach is going to get old.

3. The first full electric bill was nuts. I figured out the Polaris was running WAY too much (had been set to run whenever the pump was on). I'm sure the ancient looking primary pump is an energy hog as well. I'd love to redo the wiring and replace the pump. I think I'm up to the plumbing work, but I might need an electrician. I'm pretty comfortable with 110, but 220 is beyond what I've done before.

4. The only maintenance task that scares me is breaking down the filter at some point. Scared the thing won't go back together and I'll be stuck.

5. I'd like to redo the controllers, but don't know if I should wait until I'm replacing pumps or doing a more major renovation. The mechanical dial timers are fine when I'm down there, but I've got to treck down a slope behind the pool to turn the pump on or off right now which makes for a pain to manually turn the Polaris on or off (instead of always on like before) or if I want the pump on to add chemicals or while we're swimming. Any recommendations for good remote controlled controllers?

6. Does anyone with an irregular shaped pool really know how big it is? I can guess at surface area, but the slope to the deep end sure makes for a huge margin of error. I'm somewhere between 20k and 30k. I figure I should guess low for chemicals and high for any new equipment until I can narrow in.

7. Pool services are expensive. With the $300 a month or so I'm saving I can pay for a SWG and lots of other toys pretty quickly.
 

svenpup

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 18, 2009
835
Sacramento, CA
I was pretty much in the same situation as you a few months ago. I replaced the aging motor on the main pump with a two speed high efficiency model. I replaced the two intermatic timers with a TightWatt2. Most recently I added the SWCG.

As far as estimating pool volume, check out this thread.
 

wammy

New member
Aug 2, 2010
2
I've read that technically the pump and motor are different components, but I've assumed they are always together. Did you really just replace the motor? Is that cheaper?

Do you use the X10 remote control stuff? I know X10 used to make nothing but junk, is it ok now?
 

svenpup

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 18, 2009
835
Sacramento, CA
Yes, I just replaced the motor and reused the "wet end" since it was in fine shape. I got what I consider to be one of the best two speed motors you can get and it only cost around $240. Add in another $20 or so for a new shaft seal and o-ring set, and I wound up way cheaper than an equivalent two-speed pump.

I saw that the TightWatt is X-10 compatable, but I don't use it. My pump is only a short distance from the pool.

ETA You have to make sure you get a motor that is compatible with the pump. There are several frame/flange configurations that are common for pool pumps.
 
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